Most of us would identify our meal times as something special and it is that unique part of the day wherein we not only shared our day to day activities, but also have a simple nutritious meal. When we were young, many of us had very limited food choices and we ate whatever was put on the table. Sometimes there was pleasant food, while at other times we just finished the food from our plate as an obligation. We all knew the consequences of not finishing our plate of food.
Today’s scenario is totally different. We are living in the era of plenty. We have shops and supermarkets open 24 hours, with all kinds of ready foodstuff available. So today, feeding our children with healthy food stuff has become a daunting challenge for most parents.
There is a constant demand to learn new recipes and make food that is tasty but need not necessarily be healthy. Parents are battling to get their children to eat more of fresh fruits, vegetables and less of sugar, salt and fat. Many parents have confessed that they just cannot get their children to eat healthy and have tried many tricks, but have repeatedly failed.
- Today, let us look at some top tips to get your fussy child to eat healthy.
- Eat together as a family.
- Be realistic and accommodate some of the good food choices of your children.
- Limit the storage of junk food and unhealthy foods.
- Encourage your child to eat like adults.
- Do not get discouraged if children don’t like to eat any newly introduced healthy foods.
- Encourage and not force.
- Make your children understand that they cannot always eat what they like.
- Keep your cool when faced with a fussy eater.
- Involve your children in the menu planning for the week.
Today, let us look at some top tips to get your fussy child to eat healthy.
Eat together as a family.
It is always said that a family that prays and eats together, stays together. All snacks one hour before supper time should be completely avoided. Try to ensure that everyone sits together and eats their meal. The food is the same for each and every member and parents need to guide their children in an interesting and innovative way inorder to make them eat healthy food. For e.g. your daughter can be told that the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables will reflect in good skin and healthy and silky hair.
Be realistic and accommodate some of the good food choices of your children.
Since you are going to cook one meal for all, it is important to reduce the spice, salt and other strong flavoured vegetables like onions and garlic, in the food. Replace the strong flavoured ingredients with others which are more appetising and flavourful. For e.g. Red onions can be replaced with white onions, which are sweeter. Potatoes can be replaced with sweet potatoes in the soup, wherein nobody would notice the difference.
Limit the storage of junk food and unhealthy foods.
When you are in the process of making a lifestyle change by eating healthy, it is important not to buy any junk food. Children are great observers and they will imitate whatever you do.
It is important for the family to eat healthy. Avoid readymade kid’s food like nuggets, French fries, chips, chocolates, pastries and biscuits etc. If there is no junk food at home, then children are forced to snack on healthy options.
Encourage your child to eat like adults.
You can encourage your child by telling them that they need to eat fruits and vegetables like adults, in order to be strong and healthy. No more baby food, as the same does not provide wholesome nutrition.
Do not get discouraged if children don’t like to eat any newly introduced healthy foods.
Normally it takes a child around 7 to 8 times before they actually start eating food normally. Do not get discouraged if they spit it out.
Try giving it to them again. You eat the same soup or vegetable and encourage them to eat it by telling them some creative things. Always tell them that the same meal has to be eaten by all members of the family. Keep a rule that they cannot say that they don’t like it, unless they have tried it for a minimum of 7 to 8 times already. After the newness of the food wears off, many of us start liking the food after its repeated exposure in our diet.
Also give them the option of choosing from different types of vegetables but do not give them the option of saying no to all. They need to make their choice of vegetables which they would eat regularly. You can make it interesting by making small chits with names of the vegetables that your children would like to eat during the week.
Encourage and not force.
Be creative by encouraging them to eat different types of healthy food. Be realistic, as nobody would like everything that is healthy but at the same time do give them the option of choosing and deciding what they would prefer to eat.
Make your children understand that they cannot always eat what they like.
Ensure that your children understand that pizzas and burgers are once in a while foods, while vegetables and fruits are meant to be eaten daily. Explain to them that though they might like only a particular subject in school, they still have to study all the other subjects as well, for their overall development. In the same way, healthy foods of all food categories have to be eaten proportionally for a healthy body.
Keep your cool when faced with a fussy eater.
Avoid getting irritated and annoyed when facing your children not eating healthy food. Do not bribe them by asking them to finish their dinner, before a chocolate or pudding is given. This gives them the liberty to just finish off their food without really eating it and then enjoying the desert, which is not a healthy food.
You can involve your children in the menu planning for the week but the final decision remains with you. Children are more likely to enjoy the meals that they have chosen.
These are the top 9 tips to get your fussy child to eat healthy. Remember eating healthy is a lifestyle and it might take months before you can actually see the benefits, but keep trying as it is worth the effort.
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